Oliver Sacks (1933 – 2015) Rest in Peace

Oliver Sacks died today. We are fortunate that we can look forward to the posthumous publication of works in progress or from his voluminous journals. I reviewed his recently published autobiography on August 24.

His obituary in the New York Times states “Dr. Sacks variously described his books and essays as case histories, pathographies, clinical tales or ‘neurological novels.’ ”

I like “pathographies”. If anyone deserves a neologism, it is Oliver Sacks. In fact, he can have a whole genre, ‘neurological novels’.

In Sacks’s memory, I plan to read Musicophila, in the expanded version published in 2008. And maybe increase my daily intake of Mozart.

In a recent New York Times article (August 14), Sacks described his state of mind as he faced death. “I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”

The only other author I have encountered with such skill at finding and telling stories is Robert Coles, who wrote The Call of Stories and The Spiritual Life of Children. I’m pleased to report that Coles is still alive, now aged 85.


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